Crisis Intervention Theory

Course Number: PSYCHLGY 7230
Course Name: Crisis Intervention Theory (Online)
Course Description:    This course examines crisis intervention models as they apply to suicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, natural disasters, personal loss, and life cycle crises. Students learn to recognize and deal with the psychological and emotional stresses encountered by professionals and paraprofessionals who work with people in crisis.
Prerequisites:    None
Level: Graduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Registration Instructions

NOTE: The information below is representative of the course and is subject to change.  The specific details of the course will be available in the Desire2Learn course instance for the course in which a student registers.

Additional Information

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, you should be able to

  • Critically assess the dynamics of crises and determine appropriate intervention responses.
  • Identify the developmental crises typical in the adolescent and adult life cycle.
  • Understand crisis intervention models and apply them to sexual assault, domestic violence, natural disaster, and bereavement.
  • Articulate the importance of multicultural awareness in crisis assessment and intervention.
  • Employ basic listening and responding skills.
  • Apply systems theory to team approaches in crisis intervention.
  • Apply fundamental professional ethics to crisis intervention situations.
  • Assess your own likely reactions in a crisis situation.
  • Develop strategies for dealing with suicidal people.
  • Apply crisis intervention models in schools, institutions, and human service settings.
  • Develop a plan for debriefing workers after a crisis incident.

Unit Descriptions

Unit 1: Crisis Intervention Theory and Application
Lesson 1 - Characteristics of Crises
Lesson 2 - Crisis Intervention Skills
Lesson 3 - Crisis Case Handling

Unit 2: Handling Specific Crises
Lesson 4 - Acute and Posttraumatic Stress Disorders
Lesson 5 - Crises of Lethality
Lesson 6 - Sexual Assault
Lesson 7 - Domestic Violence

Unit 3: Complicating Factors
Lesson 8 - Chemical Abuse and Dependency
Lesson 9 - Personal Loss-Bereavement and Grief
Lesson 10 - Crises in Institutions and Agencies
Lesson 11 - School Violence
Lesson 12 - Crisis/Hostage Situations

Unit 4: Practical Applications
Lesson 13 - Human Service Workers in Crisis
Lesson 14 - Multicultural Aspects of Crisis and Crisis Intervention
Lesson 15 - Community Action

Grading Information

Weekly Work (60% of grade)

  • Read textbook and assigned readings
  • Participate in online asynchronous discussion and scheduled chats
  • Complete one written assignment per lesson
  • Post a critique (350-500 words) of one of the readings for each lesson and respond to others' critiques

Exams (30% of grade)
There will be three essay examinations. The third examination will be semi-cumulative.

Case Study (10% of grade)
You will prepare an in-depth analysis of a workplace that routinely handles crisis situations (examples: a crisis phone center, a local emergency management center, a police department, a victim/witness services unit). You must interview at least two people from the selected workplace. The final report should be posted to the class, and should include the following information:

  • General description of the agency and its purpose and clientele (include staff numbers and qualifications)
  • Types of crises seen
  • Protocol used for handling crises (assessment, intervention, evaluation, follow-up, etc.)
  • Description of the challenges experienced in the setting (personal as well as agency)
  • Administrative structure
  • Funding
  • Staff training and orientation
  • Agency self-assessment procedures
  • Critical evaluation of the services provided in that setting
  • Personal reactions to the setting and its workings

You will be assigned to a group of three students. Each of you will independently prepare a case study and present it to the class by posting it in the discussion area. The two other students assigned to the group serve as your consultants as the report is being planned (and you serve as their consultant for their reports), and as respondents in an online chat concerning the final report. (The other classmates are encouraged to participate in the chat, as well.) Your grade is based on your own case study, and the level of assistance and interaction you provide to the others in your group.

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